Baseball suffers rain-shortened loss to Keene State

Nick Cortese '13 (photo by Sportspix)

WALTHAM, Mass. –  The visiting Keene State College Owls defeated the host Brandeis University Judges, 8-2, in a rain-shortened six-inning nonconference baseball contest today on Stein Diamond. Brandeis falls to 23-14 on the season and sees its five-game winning streak snapped, while Keene State improves to 26-9 and wins for the sixth time in their last seven outings.

Keene State got all the scoring it would need in the top of the first inning when junior DH Larry Longo (Londonderry, N.H./Derryfield) blasted a three-run home run on the first pitch he saw from Brandeis rookie Colin Markel (Scarsdale, N.Y./Scarsdale). It was Longo's fifth home run of the season.

The Judges answered with one run in the bottom of the first, when senior CF Tony Deshler (Pepperell, Mass./Lawrence Acad.) was hit by a pitch from Owl sophomore Chris Crutcher (Londonderry, N.H./SNHU) to lead off the frame. Sophomore LF Nick Cortese (Guaynabo, P.R./Baldwin School of Puerto Rico) hit into a fielder's choice and then scored from first on senior DH Pat Nicholson's (E. Walpole, Mass./Walpole) long double to right-center field.

Brandeis crept within one run in the bottom of the third when sophomore RF Chris Ferro (Walpole, Mass./Walpole) singled up the middle to plate rookie SS Dom Schwartz (San Francisco, Calif./Lowell). Senior 1B Eric Rosenberg (Oakland, N.J./Indian Hills) hit the next offering from Crutcher on the nose, but right at the leftfielder to prevent further damage.

The Owls got the two runs back in the top of the fourth. Markel walked the first batters of the inning, but retired the next two on a bunt and a strikeout. He issued one more free pass to load the bases then gave up a ringing single to centerfield to rookie SS and leadoff hitter David Valley (Essex Junction, Vt./Essex Junction) that plate two and made the score 5-2, Keene State. The Owls tacked on three more runs on three hits, a fielder's choice and a sacrifice fly in the top of the fifth against sophomore reliever Jesse Link (Weston, Conn./Weston).

After both teams went in order in the sixth and Link retired the side in the seventh, lightning struck in the distance. Though the rain was over relatively quickly, it dumped enough water on the field to force the umpires to declare the contest over.

The game had three multiple hitters, as Valley (2-4, 2 RBI, 1 R) and Longo (2-3, HR, 3 RBI) had two each for Keene State and Cortese (2-3, 1 R) had a pair for the Judges. In addition to Longo's home run, Nicholson for Brandeis and junior CF Kyle Morrill (Auburn, N.H./Memorial) each had doubles for the game's only extra-base hits.

On the hill, Crutcher improved to 3-3 with six innings of six-hit ball, allowing two earned runs. He struck out three and did not walk anyone. Markel fell to 2-4 after allowing five hits and five runs in four innings of work. He walked three and struck out four.

Brandeis returns to action on Saturday afternoon with a nonconference doubleheader against Springfield College at noon, while KSC takes on Southern Maine in a Little East Conference twinbill at the same time.